Critical flood infrastructure in Canterbury receives major funding boost

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Jun 01, 2024 |
Rangitata River mouth
Rangitata River mouth

Canterbury Regional Council has welcomed Central Government support from Budget 2024 for flood management measures in the region.

Co-funding, drawn from a new Regional Infrastructure Fund established by the Government, will help speed progress on a range of projects. This includes further upgrading and improvements to flood management on the Rangitata River to better protect critical infrastructure, such as roads, railways, and bridges, as well as neighboring communities.

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced that $1.2 billion over three years would be invested in new and existing infrastructure across regional New Zealand, focusing on resilience and enabling infrastructure.

Of this, $200 million will be available for flood resilience infrastructure. Up to $101.1 million is committed, along with co-investment from recipients, to 42 flood resilience projects that are close to getting started.

Part of this funding will help upgrade critical and aged flood management infrastructure across Canterbury to meet the demands of a changing climate, Environment Canterbury said.

The money will also go towards Waitarakao, Washdyke, and Seadown Flood Works, where there is productive farmland, a key drainage scheme, critical infrastructure, businesses, houses, and the waterways that flow into the special environment of Waitarakao Lagoon.

Environment Canterbury Acting Chair Craig Pauling said it’s a great start.

“Co-investment is something we’ve been pushing for a long time. It’s great to see the Government is serious about this, and there’s still more we can do together. Our Council put forward seven flood protection projects in the ‘Before the Deluge’ report that are priorities for our region.

“We’ll continue to work with the Government to progress projects to help safeguard lives, property, and vital infrastructure across Waitaha, as well as help us with overall river resilience including biodiversity and biosecurity outcomes.”

The Government is still working through the nature and size of support that will be offered to each project.

“The co-funding will complement increased investment in flood and river resilience that was agreed on during deliberations on our Long-Term Plan 2024-34, alongside a new targeted rate for additional flood management work in the Selwyn district. It also builds on the previous partnership for climate resilience and flood protection funding, which helped deliver work on-the-ground at a much faster pace than local funding from rates alone would have been able to achieve.”

Acting Chair Pauling said it’s a relief to know more help is at hand.

“With the renewed support from Central Government, delivery of this critical work can ramp up, helping to reduce the risk of flooding for our communities and providing for the long-term resilience of our unique and treasured awa.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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